Opinion | What Are Sperm Telling Us?
Uncertainty remains, research sometimes conflicts and biological pathways are not always clear. The decline in sperm count is real and what may be the reasons for it and there are competing theories about why girls first reach puberty, and it is sometimes unclear whether the increase in male genital abnormalities is a real rising number. Or just reflects better reporting.
still, Endocrine Society, To Pediatric Endocrine Society, To President’s Cancer Panel And this World Health Organization Warns about all endocrine inhibitors and Europe and Canada Have gone to regulate them. But in the United States, Congress and the Trump administration seemed to listen more to industry advocates than independent scientists.
Patricia Ann Hunt, a reproductive geneticist at Washington State University, has done experiments on mice to show that the effect of endocrine disorder is cumulative, generation by generation. When infant mice were exposed for just a few days to endocrine terminating chemicals, their testes produced fewer sperm, and this inability spread to their offspring. While the findings of animal studies may not necessarily extend to humans, one-fifth of male mice were infertile, after three generations of these exposures.
“I find it particularly disturbing,” Professor Hunt told me. “From the point of view of human risk, you could argue that we are killing the third generation just about.”
What if all this means for the future of humanity?
“I don’t see humans becoming extinct, but I think family lines are ending for a subset of people who are infertile.” Andrea GoreA professor of neuroendocrinology at the University of Texas at Austin told me. “People with impaired sperm or egg quality cannot exercise their right to produce a child. It may not devastate our species, but it is certainly devastating for these infertile couples. “
More research is necessary, and government regulation and corporate responsibility are important to manage risks, but Hans provides practical suggestions for daily living with resources. Store food in glass containers, not plastic. Above all, microwave foods in plastic or not with plastic wrap on top. Avoid pesticides. Buy organic products if possible. Avoid tobacco or marijuana. Use a cotton or linen curtain, not made of a vinyl. Do not use air fresheners. Prevent dust buildup. Vet consumer products that you use with an online guide such as Environmental Working Group.
Many issues in the headlines today will not matter much in a decade, let alone in a century. Climate change is an exception, and another may pose a risk to our fertility.